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Band members to vote on Cloquet RBC seat on Tuesday

 

November 30, 2018

Wally DuPuis

And then there were two. Members of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa living in District 1 (Cloquet) will elect a new representative on Tuesday, choosing between Patty Petite and Wally Dupuis, the top vote getters in an October primary election that featured 12 candidates.

The winner will serve two years as the District 1 committee person for the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee, filling the seat vacated by Vanessa Northrup after she was removed from the seat in July by RBC members at the request of petitioners.

The General Election polls will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Fond du Lac Tribal Center ENP (District 1).

Both Dupuis and Petite would bring a wide range of experience to the Reservation Business Committee. The Pine Knot News reached out to both candidates and compiled the following profiles to help voters decide who best represents their own beliefs and values. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order and were limited to a certain number of words in response to each question.

Wally Dupuis

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications:

I have eight years experience on the RBC, with a brief tenure as Chairman; successfully resolving our dispute with the City of Duluth. With over 20 years in law enforcement, I have a successful background in public service, not only to the Fond du Lac community but also our neighboring communities. More recently, I'm serving as a Community Advocate representing FDL in both the St. Louis County and Carlton County treatment courts.

What made you decide to run for the district 1 RBC seat?

I'm running for District 1 because there is more we can accomplish. With my experience and knowledge of our programs and enterprises, I can step right in and get to work. I've demonstrated progressive leadership in my previous years on council and I'll continue to do the same when elected.

What do you think are the top two issues facing the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and how would you go about tackling those?

There are a number of issues facing the Fond du Lac Band, some not any more important than the other. Most concerning is the opioid epidemic which plagues not only the reservation but the U.S. as a whole. We have to address this problem by providing educational programs and supporting treatment centers. With my experience in public services, I have come to believe that we are in need of more treatment facilities with easier admittance guidelines. By working with treatment providers, educational institutes and health service providers we can develop a strategic plan to address this epidemic.

The second issue would be the implementation of the pipeline project. Although this could be a catastrophic project that could potentially harm our natural resources, it can also be an economic boost to our communities. To address this issue, a clear plan of action needs to be outlined with clear long-term and short-term outcomes that will benefit the Band. This will be one of the first things that I will look into upon taking the District 1 Representative office. I want to have a clear understanding of all the information to make a good, sound decision.

Name two things you think the FDL Band government does really well.

The FDL Tribal Government, over the years, has been very successful in the development and implementation of their health care system. Within the past 10 years they have expanded three health care facilities providing a host of services to a large population of indigenous individuals and their extended families. Also, the FDL Tribal Government has been a frontrunner in the natural resource initiatives, with their work being used by and in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Commission and other tribal natural resource programs.

If elected, would you consider allowing band members to also submit opinion letters to the reservation newspaper for publication?

I believe all opinions matter and should always be offered consideration, Therefore RBC members should always have an open door policy for anyone to voice their concerns/opinions. I believe the FDL newspaper was initially designed to inform our members of the progress of the band, its programs and entities.

Patty Petite

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.

My name is Patty Petite, I'm married and have three grown children and seven grandchildren. I have lived on Fond du Lac most of my life and raised my family here.

I've worked for FDL for 28 years in social services, director of Head Start and the Scholarship Program, dean at FDLTCC and an administrator at FDL Human Services.

I hold a master's degree and a Doctorate in Education from University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

What made you decide to run for the district 1 RBC seat?

This is my community, my home and where I want to be. I've gained the skills, administrative and management experience to be a contributing and productive representative for the Cloquet district. A woman's perspective, good communication skills and good listening skills are all qualities needed to do the job.

What do you think are the top two issues facing the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and how would you go about tackling those?

I believe education is the key to success for our band members from early childhood through higher education or technical training. We must raise the bar for our children to succeed and to instill the love of learning in being lifelong learners. We must continue to provide programming and environments centered on education and our culture. There must be meaningful opportunities for our band members to develop their skills and confidence to become our future leaders.

The second issue is to develop a proactive approach to workforce development where we can ensure our band members have the opportunity to gain the skills they need to become gainfully employed, earning a living wage to support their families. Look for partnerships where on-the-job training allows band members to learn skills and certifications that will lead to long-term employment.

My plan to tackle the education and workforce development concerns is to encourage the education programs and the many divisions of Fond du Lac to come together and develop long-range plans for band members with the best education system, in return ensuring that the Fond du Lac Band is working to develop our future leaders.

Name two things you think the FDL Band government does really well.

Patty Petite

There are many areas where the FDL Band government does well. The first is providing funding for their band membership to enhance their quality of life. This funding assists in caring for our elders, providing quality health care, education and many other programs on and off the reservation. Funding has also been awarded to local programs and activities serving the greater community.

The other area is employment; Fond du Lac is one of the largest employers in the area where they employ band members as well as non-band members in all aspects of their operations on and off the reservation.

If elected, would you consider allowing band members to also submit opinion letters to the reservation newspaper for publication?

I believe having direct access to district representatives allows for direct and more meaningful conversations where relationships are built with band members. I feel that as a representative I would address the issues or concerns head-on and have an open door policy. Our newspaper educates and promotes positive messaging.

 
 

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